Dinner Train has Unexpected Drama.
"Before detraining, please have your ticket in
hand. Someone may have boarded the train when we were stopped
halfway through our trip this evening."
With ticket in hand, while waiting to conclude the
very enjoyable evening on the Columbia Star Dinner Train; through the
windows we could see a Police car racing away from the Station.
Inquiring Minds wanted to know, and verbal opinions began to be
form. "I guess they caught the guy. "Boy, can you believe
someone tried to board the train! "You know, they have a holdup
on the Grand Canyon Railway, but no masked cowboys came through the
train asking for money this time. I wonder if each ride ends this
After our trip, I contacted the General Manager of
the Columbia Star Dinner Train and he said they could not say anything
at the time because the real drama was continuing. It seems there
was an armed robbery along the route of the train and police feared the
culprit might have made his getaway by boarding the train. Of
course, this would have been virtually impossible and the likelihood of
an armed robber blending in with the passengers, even if he had
boarded, was even more remote...more like a Hollywood plot. As it
turned out, the robber had been found in a corn field near the tracks.
Looking back on the incident, I'm glad no more was
said by the staff. We all left feeling safe and comfortable and
with satisfied appetites, and with a unique situation to tell our
friends about that no other Dinner or Tourist Train has actually
experienced to my knowledge. So, the story has a "Happy Ending"
as we expected when we started out Columbia Star Dinner Train. It
is to the staff's credit that the situation was handled
professionally. Or, as fellow Field Reporter, Chris Guenzler,
always says, "Every train trip is an adventure!"
Fellow Passenger that evening, Ben Myers, when I
related the conclusion of this 'Cornfield Bandit' story said, "Well how
about that! Jesse James is still going strong and jumping trains
- our train! Good thing you and Matt weren't mistaken for the
There are at least two reasons to ride a dinner train: The Train
itself and The Dinner you'll enjoy during the ride. I found both
reasons satisfying as I rode the Columbia Star Dinner Train on Saturday evening, October 15, 2011. I came to Missouri, specifically La Plata, on the Amtrak Southwest Chief from Southern California, finishing my nearly 2,000 mile/45-hour ride earlier that same day. The Rail Travel Writing and Photography Workshop,
held at the Depot Inn & Suites in La Plata, MO, was the reason for
the trip. I was a co-presenter of the workshop where I handled
the photography portion and Henry Kisor handled the travel writing
portion. I had planned it so I would arrive in the morning and
ride the Columbia Star Dinner Train that evening.
Ride and Dine on the recently opened Columbia Star Dinner Train
The round-trip route runs between Columbia and Centralia, Missouri, and takes between 2.5 and 3 hours.
Evening Dinner Train
Departure 7PM (Every Friday and Saturday)
Dinner train boarding begins 30 minutes prior to departure.
Tickets are $69.95 per passenger plus Missouri Sales Tax.(Price does not include gratuity and drinks)
Dinner train guests
will enjoy a 2 1/2 - 3 hour ride onboard a classic passenger train from
the golden years of train travel. Enjoy a fresh, onboard, Chef-prepared
four course meal as you travel through the scenic Missouri countryside.
Choose from our current month's beef, seafood or chicken entres. This
four-course meal features an appetizer, the house salad, your entree
selection, all topped off with a deliciously prepared dessert.
Popular imported sparkling and mineral waters and a well stocked bar
are made available at reasonable prices.